Back to Albion, for Sprite and I at least. Its pretty much Fable 2 with better graphics, a larger world, some poor modifications, and some good modifications.
Here's the scoop from my perspective so far (haven't tried co-op yet, nor gotten to the King stage) -
The world is pretty big and there's PLENTY of exploring and questing to do if you chose to do so. While ill on the couch the other day I ran about for at least 10 hours completing quests in a single town. In total I've got about 15 hours in and have uncovered only 3 of a multitude of map regions.
Yeah, I've read all the gripes about play time. The folks bitching are the ones that open the game, consume mass amounts of coffee and Red Bull, stay up all night, go straight for the main quest completions as quickly as possible, skipping all story content, avoiding all side quests, taking no opportunity to explore a vast RPG type world, then posting something like 'First! Anyways this game f@%&*# sucks cuz I beat it in 8 hours and it wasn't fun at all' at 6am the next morning.
The pause button leads to a place called Sanctuary, which is a room under the Albion castle. Here there are options to view treaties, interact with a world map, save game, alter settings, change outfits (even dye em), visit the armory or treasury, etc111 all with the constant opinionated instructions of your butler, voiced by John Cleese.
Music great, graphics great, voice acting impressive (Cleese as mentioned above, Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry, and many other well known UK comedians).
The ability to use the world map to fast travel to any quest in any region of the continent. This saves a ton of time, but does tend to interrupt exploring if you're the explorer type. This fast travel may also interfere with your abilities to complete grand quests (for example, hunting garden gnomes over albion, the gargoyles seem to have been banished).
All the fun stuff from alcohol use to prostitutes to orgies to STDs (seems to be the proper order there).
Weapons now morph with characters and dogs. Going evil? Well, your sword my begin to mutate and drip blood, your dog may turn into a hellhound, and you may develop horns and firey brimstone under your feet. Good? You may get angelic type ghostly wings in battle and your weapon may take on a glowing aura as your dog becomes Lassie. Melee combat? Become muscular. Ranged combat? Become taller. Of course the weight factor is still variable depending on what you eat.
Legendary weapons abound, but aren't legendary initially. They have a few conditions you must meet in order to unlock their powers. A good hammer may gain a damage increase against evil if you kill x amount of evil creatures, the evil counterpart may increase post kill gold if you sell x amount of townsfolk into slavery. You can have multiple weapons in your armory, so its sorta like unlocking attachments in MW of BFBC and give you some goals to meet with each weapon.
Real estate management is cool in one way. You can assign Jasper (your butler) to redecorate property for you to increase its property and rental value. Simply go to the furniture shop, buy lots of stuff, head to the house(s) of redecoration and tell Jasper to do it. He'll choose suitable furniture from your stock to improve the place(s). Buying, improving, and selling on property can become a mini game in itself.
BUT! Read below...
The not so good:
Real estate management tops my list. If you decide to start an empire and begin buying housing and businesses, it can be a pain. 3 introduced housing depreciation (100% to 0%). When a house is in repair, you get full rent, when the house condition drops to 0% the tenants stop paying. The solution is frequent repairs to the houses you own. BUT, there is no 'Repair all' button. You have interact with the world map to view each house and instigate repairs. When you own 20-30+ properties in different regions, this becomes a major pain in the ass and takes a good chunk of time. Then 30 minutes later111 back again.
There is limitation in expression in 3. Where in 2 you had a radial menu of options when interacting with NPCs (you could belch, say hi, chat, shake hands, insult, smile, etc) in this one you are given 2 options, 1 good and 1 bad. The options also seem to be chosen at random. For example, if you approach a merchant and wish to converse (maybe to get better prices) you may be given only the options to either 'dance' with him or 'insult' him. So, you choose dance and grab him around the waist and then have to hold the interaction button down for a full 10 seconds to complete a salsa with him. Often he likes it. If anyone did this to me I might punch him in the face and call the cops.
Spell limitation. Well, in 2 you had a radial menu to access your learned spells. Want to fire off a fireball to blow the enemy back and a shock bolt to stun him? Fire away! Not so in 3. 3 is 'Death to Radials!'. Here you have to wear an elemental gauntlet (fire, shock, cold, wind) which allows you only one type of attack (surprisingly fire, shock, cold, or wind) as an area of effect or aimed spell. No radial menus, not even subchoices. Wearing the fire gauntlet? Hold the button for a circular fire blast or aim the stick and hit the button for a targeted fire blast - that's it. Wearing the cold gauntlet? Hold the button for a circular ice storm or aim the stick and hit the button for a targeted ice bolt. Repeat for other gauntlets.
Free DLC 'bonus' in game = 'something we withheld so you could install it yourself and feel special'. Might as well sell someone an empty box for $60 and give them the 'bonus' of downloading the game.
Weapons are now more or less button smashing. 'A' for melee, 'B' for magic, 'Y' for ranged. Aim stick in direction of enemy, mash appropriate button, hold button for flourish attack (which are all pretty cool BTW).
The heavy graphic load sometimes causes a frame rate lag of 5-6 seconds when you initially enter an area, you can overcome this by simply standing still for a few seconds and admiring the scenery. Likewise, the glowing objective trail takes a few seconds to materialize111mmm111boy those mountains are pretty, think I'll stare at 'em for 8 or 9 seconds.
All in all, its Fable. If you didn't like 2, you're not going to like 3. If you liked 2, you'll probably enjoy this one, Sprite and I are.